Niklas Church Högelstein
a chapel · St2175, 95695 Mähring, Germany
  • Story
  • Place

Finally in the West!

Available in: English | Deutsch

“The moment we arrived at the chapel I knew that we were safe in the West,” Hans Heine recalled, When Heine and his girlfriend reached the chapel on a cold April day in 1972, the area around the Chapel seemed appeared impassable and lonely. Hans Heine, who had fallen in love with a woman from East Berlin during a one-day visit of the city, identified the German-Bohemian border as a suitable place for his escape plan. After they had spent a holiday together in Prague, he and his girlfriend went on foot from Marienbad to the FRG. This chapel was the first thing he could clearly identify as being on West-German soil when looking on an old, worn-out map. Rejoicing about their fortunate getaway, they wrote into the visitors’ book: “’Today we safely made it across the border’. Yes, this is how you can express happiness. Or: ‘My God’ or ‘Hallelujah’. Yes, that’s the kind of moment you’d call redemption, when you shake off all your worries. The moment when you can say: ‘now we are safe and they haven’t noticed us’.” Leaving the chapel behind, the young couple hitchhiked from there to a police station in the nearest village after Mähring.

Hans Heine

Hans Heine

Hans Heine fell in love with a girl in East Berlin during a one-day stay in 1969. The couple maintained the relationship for about two years, despite the fact that the Berlin Wall was keeping them apart in space and the GDR authorities were trying to do everything in their power to tear them apart. After Hans Heine had been banned from entering the GDR, he explored large parts of the “Iron Curtain” on foot assisting fugitives, in order to find a suitable spot for an escape. He finally makes the decision to try to escape across the border in the Bohemian segment of the Curtain. At a meeting with his girlfriend in Prague, he confronted her with the escape plan and the pair managed to escape from Mariánské lázně, (Marienbad), to the FRG.

Niklas Church Högelstein

Available in: English | Deutsch

The Church of St Nicholas - Högelstein is a small chapel, built in 1899 as a replacement for a burned-down wooden chapel at the same spot. It is located directly on the German-Czech border in the forest between Neualbenreuth and Mähring in Bavaria. In the 15th century there was a village called Högelstein in the immediate vicinity of the chapel. However, the settlement became extinct after devastation and disease. Today the chapel is surrounded by hiking trails and is accessible by car.

Niklas Church Högelstein

On this place

Finally in the West!

Finally in the West!

Hans Heine
Memory of Nations Places Mobile App
Get the app for free in your mobile app store!